And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God.
~1 Samuel 23:16
Notes to the Leader: Many people question the value of the Old Testament. This is one study that can be used to demonstrate the learnings for the modern day New Testament Christian that can come from our rich Biblical history. By studying the struggles of David, we can see how he overcame the human conditions of stress and built his confidence upon God. The lesson is not long and provides adequate time for discussion. It is an excellent choice for new groups.
Pass out 3X5 index cards and pencils to everyone in your group. Now ask each of your group to take a few minutes and think about the spiritual victories and defeats they have had in their life, big or small. They could have had a positive or a negative impact on their life. Ask them to try to think of at least three victories and defeats and write them down. Emphasize that you will not be asking for the cards.
Section One: Sharing
Now as the group leader, share your list with the group. Your high points and your low points.
What do you think we learn from our defeats?
- Common sense – Many of life’s disappointments are good lessons that serve us in later years.
- We are not alone – As an individual, a defeat can be emotionally devastating. However, the fellowship of a Christian community can often sooth the disappointment. It is rare that we suffer a defeat that has not been experienced by someone else. (Read 1 Corinthians 10:13)
- Who God is – In a fast paced world it is often easy to be distracted. Many find that they began to give God a place in their hearts when the distractions were displaced by a major disappointment in life.
- Faith – It is the fundamental attribute of salvation. Many people are distracted by the abundances, indulgences and their successes in this world. For these people, they may find that faith is only strengthened by life’s defeats.
Why do you think God gives us spiritual victories?
- It is possible to take the position that God always gives us spiritual victories. Our human perspective (limited) and the finite nature of man (always thinking short term) clouds the true victory. It is through our faith that we trust all things are for our good. This is, of course, easy to say and hard to do. Hence, the peaks and valleys. God loves us in spite of this and has no desire to break our will for Him, only our grip on this world.
Finish this section by reading 1 Samuel 13:14, emphasizing that even someone after God’s own heart has spiritual ups and downs.
Section Two: David’s Ups and Downs
One verse at a time, read the following verses. As your group to look for the incidents in David’s life and whether they were they positive or negative. Don’t concentrate on the correctness of answers as much as the discussion.
- 1 Samuel 21:10 – Fled from Saul
- 1 Samuel 21:13 – Feigned madness
- 1 Samuel 22:5 – Followed God’s command
- 1 Samuel 22:23 – Abiathar’s friendship
- 1 Samuel 23:5 – Rescue of Keilah
- 1 Samuel 23:16 – Encouraged by Jonathan
- 1 Samuel 24:10 – Spared Saul
Section Three: David’s Choices
What were David’s alternatives to trusting God?
- Confidence in his own abilities, his wealth, his friends, etc.
What are our alternatives to trusting God? Are they any good?
- They are the same as David’s. Unfortunately, none of them are reliable.
Why does it seem easier, for some people, to trust in these than God?
- Trust may seem an emotion but it is, in fact, an act of will. Each of us deliberately determines what we trust in and what gains our commitment.
How then, do we establish, build and strengthen our faith in God?
- Focusing our thoughts more on God’s power, wisdom, knowledge, and love than about our own problems.
Have your group build a list on the whiteboard or easel ways they use to build and strengthen their faith.
- More time in prayer;
- More time reading Scripture;
- Better preparation for bible study;
- Sharing of your faith with others;
- Less time thinking/talking about problems;
- Volunteering time to church, community, needy;
- More accepting of family’s faults;
- More laughter, fewer tears;
- Encouraging others in their faith;
- Helping those in need;
- Keeping a journal on answered prayers and your faith walk.
Re-read the study verse 1 Samuel 23:16 to your group again.
- To strengthen someone’s faith is, in itself, is a faith-strengthening act.
Bible Truth Being Taught
God Himself is a resource for each of us to seek strength with so that we may overcome fear and build confidence.
To be in constant obedience to God and earnestly seek His will, building spiritual character in order that we may meet life’s stresses and find strength and confidence in the Lord.